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|Country||Template:Flag Template:Flag. Occupied in 1967 by Israel, which applied Israeli law there, but still claimed by Syria.|
|Israeli District||North District|
|Syrian Governorate||Quneitra Governorate|
|Syrian District||Quneitra District|
|Elevation||1,130 m (3,707 ft)|
Coordinates: Majdal Shams (Arabic: مجدل شمس.; Hebrew: מַגְ'דַל שַׁמְס) is a Druze village in the northern part of the Golan Heights, the center of Druze life in the region. Majdal Shams is situated in the southern foothills of Mt. Hermon, and is surrounded by thousands of dunams of orchards, the main crops of which include first class apples and cherries. Israel captured Majdal Shams in 1967 and has occupied it since.
Majdal Shams is the largest of the four Druze villages in the Golan. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, as of September 2005 Majdal Shams's population was 8,800. The population growth rate is 2.5%. The ratio between men and women is 951 for every 1000 men.The village is politically and spiritually governed by the Abu-Salah and Safdie families.
The inhabitants of Majdal Shams hold Syrian citizenship. For this reason they are not drafted into the Israeli army (although a minority serve voluntarily) and many travel to Syria regularly to visit family or receive university degrees in Damascus. A year after Israel annexed the Golan, a six-month non-violent general strike was launched on April 14, 1982, in which Majdal Shams played a notable role.
One kilometer east of the town center, on the other side of the valley, is the Shouting Hill (hebr. גבעת צעקות), where Majdal Shams' Druze line up with bullhorns to make small-talk with relatives on the Syrian side. The busiest time seems to be Friday and Saturday afternoons.
The Arabic name Majdal Shams is adapted from an Aramaic name meaning "tower of the sun".
Majdal Shams in popular culture
Majdal Shams was the village featured in the award-winning film, The Syrian Bride (2004).
The "Family Shouting Place" near A-line is situated at 4.5 km southwest of the village of Hadar at 1,100m above sea level. The Family Shouting Place for the Druze village Majdal Shams is 300m west of the A-side. At least once a week, Druze families from both sides of the Israeli-controlled and Syrian controlled areas (Hadar and Majdal villages) talk to each other via loudspeakers to arrange weddings; or simply to discuss family issues. Both villages, Hadar and Majdal Shams are inhabited by the people belonging to the Druze religious community. The cease-fire line suddenly tore the local Druze community apart, which also inadvertently separated some families. The Shouting Place was deemed the only possible way to exchange news, to meet separated members of families, or to discuss family affairs. In 1974 the Israeli side agreed to the so called "family shouting" in order for families to "meet" every second week under UN supervision. This practice was ended after some problems occurred, but was resumed in 1987 and to this day, "family shouting" has taken place there regularly. The ground around Position 16 is also used for family-shouting. With the advent of mobile phones and internet, "family shouting" has become rare, and younger Druzes now prefer these modes of communication for those separated from each other by the artificial barrier.
- Sakr Abu Fakhr (Autumn, 2000). "Voices from the Golan". Journal of Palestine Studies 29 (4): 5–36.
- Bashar Tarabieh (May - Aug., 1995). "Education, Control and Resistance in the Golan Heights". Middle East Report (194/195, Odds against Peace): 43–47.
- Shmuel Shamai (1990). "Critical Sociology of Education Theory in Practice: The Druze Education in the Golan". British Journal of Sociology of Education 11 (4): 449–463.
- R. Scott Kennedy (Winter, 1984). "The Druze of the Golan: A Case of Non-Violent Resistance". Journal of Palestine Studies 13 (2): 48–6.
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